Teachers Union walks out of meeting with Min. Henry, prepares to strike  

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The Guyana Teachers Union (GTU) today stormed out of a meeting with the Minister of Education, Nicolette Henry after its members felt disrespected by the stance she took on several issues affecting them.

GTU President Mark Lyte told News Room during a telephone interview that the Minister was not prepared to speak to the Union about their concerns and had prepared a PowerPoint presentation in an effort to distract from the real issues.

“The Minister was disrespectful and uncaring,” he expressed.

GTU President Mark Lyte (standing) during the meeting. [Ministry of Education photo]
One of the major issues affecting teachers across the country is the fact that they have not received a salary increase since 2015. Lyte said when this matter was raised with Minister Henry, she informed the Union that teachers will be getting the same increase as other public servants.

According to the GTU Leader, those remarks prompted the Union to discontinue the engagement as the State Minister Joseph Harmon had earlier promised that the GTU salary and wage negotiations would be separate from that of the Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU).

“I wonder if this Minister is a part of the same Cabinet,” he expressed.

Lyte said, from the tone of the Minister, she was not at all prepared to provide answers to their concerns which includes debunching, why teachers in far-flung areas have not been receiving allowances, duty-free concessions, incentives for additional qualifications and clothing allowances since 2015.

The GTU is rallying its members to go on a countrywide strike for next Thursday and Friday.

Meanwhile, a statement from the Ministry of Education on the matter suggested that it was only the GTU President who was dissatisfied with the pace of the meeting.

“What should be noted is the fact that even as the GTU President Mr Lyte stood up to truncate the meeting; all other members of the union remained seated including the General Secretary of the union Ms Coretta Mc Donald. McDonald suggested to Mr Lyte to sign the non- financial aspect of the agreement but those pleas were not heeded,” the Ministry stated.

The Proposed Multi-Year agreement (2016 to 2020) addresses both financial and non-financial matters.

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